Tap Dancing to Patience: A Shift in Perspective

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In the dark of the morning I wake suddenly wondering if I have missed the alarm. I reach for my phone; it is not yet 2 a.m. Rolling over, I return to sleep. I wake again, but this time with the panicky feeling that I have somehow not heard my alarm. I think, "Is something wrong with the settings on my phone?" It is 3:45. I close my eyes again and finally rise with my alarm at 4:45, exhausted. I could skip my morning workout, but I will likely not return to sleep and I will have more energy if I go.

I prepare a smoothie of banana, mixed berries and protein powder, and relax, allowing myself to soak up the stillness of the morning along with the natural sugars of the fruit and tiny granules of protein before leaving for my 5:30 a.m. class. I have decided to only stay for the cycling portion of the class, so the 30 minutes fly by and I return home, walk Abigail, start the coffee and find my place on my yoga mat with my legs up the wall. Restorative postures are quite possibly the most difficult postures for me to hold because they require you to do nothing; well, very little.

I lay pensive, thoughts fluttering in and out of my mind. My arms are in a supine position and the cold wood floors anchor the tops of my hands. Multi-tasker, super-efficient woman I am, I am weaving a little meditation in to the 11 minutes of legs up the wall. "Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti" is the mantra that comes naturally, flowing repetitively through my mind and allowing me to sink deeper into this restorative posture.

"Clickety, clickety, clickety... tik, tik, tik, tik." The sound of Abigail's nails tap dancing across the hardwood floors. My mind quickly revs up and plans the next hour of my day (look up number and call Miss Kitty's Grooming) and my weekend (schedule a grooming appointment for Saturday at noon, which allows ample relaxation time in the morning).

The tap dancing doesn't stop. She can't find her cozy spot on any of the rugs to settle in, and she continues to wander about. "Clickety, clickety, clickety... tik, tik, tik, tik." I send out an internal prayer, "Oh Abigail, please stop walking in circles around me!" I can't get frustrated with her; she is not doing anything "wrong."

I internally smile and the warmth of love overcomes me as I recall a beautiful lesson I picked up from St. Thérèse of Lisieux's autobiography, Story of a Soul. The lesson is that we are given little annoyances (especially the trivial, temporary ones) as gifts, which allow us to practice patience. With this reminder, I find myself thanking Abigail and the universe for the gift of the tap dance.

If you are able to change your perspective about an annoyance in life and look at it as a gift instead, it will lose its importance. After practicing this shift in perspective, you will naturally begin to look on annoyances with a softer lens until while you may take notice of something, it may no longer have the significance it did and cause disruption.